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Rain in Seattle

What's up with the Weather in Seattle


Rain in Seattle is pretty commonplace, but it’s not quite as bad as people make it seem. Whether you’ve lived here you’re entire life or are considering a move to the Great Northwest, knowing a bit about how often it rains here can serve you well. At the very least, a few bits of rain trivia can remind you that the sun will eventually come out!

Things to do in the Rain: Seattle's Museums | Free Museum Days | LeMay Museum

1. Seattle Rain Trivia

This is the skyline with the Space Needle and a rainbow. It is the view from Queen Ann Hill.
VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm/Photodisc/Getty Images

How many days of rain does Seattle get in a year?
About 150.

How many days of sun?
On average, about 58 per year.

Average rainfall in Seattle?
37 inches

Number of cloudy days each year?
About 225.

What cities get more rain than Seattle?
Several! Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and even Portland among them. Portland just edges Seattle out with an annual average rainfall of 37.5.

Who gets more rain—Seattle or Tacoma?
Tacoma gets a bit more than Seattle at almost 39 inches per year. Olympia to the south tops them both with over 50 inches of annual precipitation.

2. Do people in Seattle use umbrellas?

Umbrellas in Seattle
Copyright mikecpeck via Flickr

This question will likely get you many different answers, but the fact is that Seattle-Tacoma natives use umbrellas far less than their counterparts in the rest of the country. There are no real statistics out there to support this statement—just look around on the street if you’re out on a rainy day. Sure, you’ll see a few umbrellas, but you’ll see a lot more hooded jackets. The reason for this is up to interpretation. The most likely reason is that it rains often here, and it rains for long periods of time. Carrying a soggy umbrella around presents a constant problem. Parts of the Puget Sound, downtown Seattle included, often also get high winds. Carrying an umbrella in the wind and rain is generally impossible and more inconvenient than useful. A hooded jacket allows your hands to stay free to combat the wind as needed. It’s up for debate if not carrying an umbrella is a pride point for Seattleites or simply inconvenient!

3. Why does it rain so much in Seattle?

Space Needle in the Rain
Copyright shannonkringen via Flickr

Seattle is right in the path of a weather pattern that routinely brings in a lot of moisture off of the Pacific Ocean. Water evaporates from the ocean and is carried by weather patterns up over the Olympic Mountains, where it cools and the water droplets condense into the rain we all know and love. The Olympics create a rain shadow, which is most commonly over areas near Sequim — a small town northeast of the mountains that gets only about 18 inches of rain a year. To an extent, this rain shadow benefits Seattle. Yes, we get a lot of rain, but without the mountains, we’d get even more!

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